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America 8, Us 7, Biden 7, Joe Biden 4, Delaware 4, Philadelphia 3, United States 3, Michael Nutter 2, Cdc 2, Dennis 2, U.s. 2, Newtown 2, Chicago 2, Washington 2, New York 2, Bush 2, Nix 1, Dennis Williams 1, Clinton 1, Obama 1,
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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    January 18, 2013
    6:00 - 7:00am EST  

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checks. more funding for local police and utterly funded research ongoing violence. the vice president is introduced i philadelphia mayor michael nutter. >> >> please welcome the vice- president of the united states, and michael nutter. \[applause] [applause]
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>> mayors and ladies and gentlemen. it is, of course, my distinct honor and pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce our good friend and my good friend, vice president joe biden. throughout his career as a public servant, vice president biden has championed issues that are critical to the prosperity and growth of america's cities, and he has engaged directly with the u.s. conference of mayors on a regular basis. during our annual meeting this past june in orlando, vice president biden pledged that the obama administration would make sure that future infrastructure investments are more targeted to local areas. in november, last year, the vice president hosted our leadership in the white house to discuss the fiscal cliff and the concerns of mayors regarding both investment programs and tax-exempt financing. whenever there's a major issue
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that demands attention, again and again and again, vice president joe biden has shown the leadership and courage needed to help move our nation in the right direction. and that is why i was certainly heartened when president obama asked vice president biden to lead a special task force to develop responses to the tragedy not only at sandy hook elementary school, but the daily tragedies we see all across america. the nation's mayors and vice president biden have stood together for many, many years in support of public safety. after all, it was then-senator joe biden who championed the crime bill, which established the cops program and included the ban on assault weapons and large-capacity magazines, which congress unfortunately, allowed to expire. yesterday, i was personally very proud to be in the white house as president obama and
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vice president biden unveiled a strong, comprehensive package of legislative and regulatory reforms needed to response to the ongoing gun violence in america's cities and suburbs. every day america's mayors see the carnage caused by illegal guns and assault weapons that have no place on our nation's streets. working with president obama, vice president biden and the congress, we will make sure that the changes that are needed to protect our children are made. ladies and gentlemen, u.s. conference of mayors, welcome back our great friend, vice president joe biden. \[applause] >> thank you very much. please, please be seated. thank you all very, very much. an honor to be back with you.
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i would like to begin by acknowledging two folks from delaware who are here who are engaged in this subject as well. one i have known for years and years. he is now our new mayor, dennis williams, i don't know where you are out there, but welcome to the conference, old buddy. great to have you. and dennis and i go back to the days when we were writing the crime bill when dennis was a police officer in the city of wilmington. and also the chief law enforcement of delaware is here that i have known even longer. we share the same last name, the attorney general of the state of delaware, by son beaux and i do whatever he says because he has the power to indict. \[laughter] >> all kidding aside, i'm proud of my home state as we used to say in the senate, point of
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personal privilege, the progress they are making, efforts they are making under the leadership of our governor on the very subject you talked about. and i say to dennis, mayor williams, forgive me, i'm so used to referring to the mayor of philadelphia as my mayor because i spent about half my life in philadelphia and my granddaughter resides in the city limits, i want to be particularly good. my daughter is also a voter there as well. so i have to be particularly on good behavior. ladies and gentlemen, it's a pleasure to be back. i look forward to this opportunity every chance i get from the time i was a young fellow and new to the united states senate. it's one of the groups with whom i have had a relationship with for a long, long time and nice to be with a group of people who you agree with on all of the issues 90% of the time.
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so it's nice to be with you. i know you have come to talk about a broad range of very important, challenging issues that are facing each of your cities and towns, energy, infrastructure, budgets, finances, crime. and i want you to know that we, the president and i, and the important part of that is the president, continues to be absolutely committed to do all we can to help the cities deal with the immense problems that get thrust upon them as a consequence of diminished tax bases, as a consequence of housing, a significant portion of the public and the states that are in the most need. we are committed to having a third phase of the so-called big deal in the budget. we're of the view that just as it took during the clinton administration, it didn't happen in one fell swoop.
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the economy in great shape and move toward a balanced budget. it started off in three phases. it started off with president bush's actions, the first president bush in terms of taxation before president clinton took office. and then the actions the president took in 1994 and then in 1997. well, we think there is a third phase here that can set our country on a path that will allow us to get our debt to g.d.p., our deficit to g.d.p. down around 3%, which is the basis of all economists left, right and center all agree on the areas we can begin to grow as a country. and as my grandfather used to say with grace of god and goodwill of the neighbors, cooler heads will prevail now between now and the time we deal with the debt ceiling and we may meet the goal which we
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set out to do, which is to have roughly a $4 trillion cut over 10 years in the long-term deficit and to put us on that path. talk didn't come here to about any of those important subjects today, because as important as they all are today we have a more urgent and immediate call and that is how to deal with the epidemic of gun violence in america. you all know the statistics better than anyone so i'm not going to repeat them. on that score, i owe an incredible debt of gratitude to you at the head table and those of you in the room. i know we don't have unanimity in this ballroom nor do we in any ballroom, but we all acknowledge that we have to do something. we have to act. and i hope we all agree, there
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is a need to respond to the carnage on our streets and in our schools. i hope we all agree that mass shootings like the one we witnessed in newtown 34 days ago cannot be continued to be tolerated. that tragedy has affected the public psyche in a way i have never seen before. the image of first graders, not only shot, but riddled with bullets. parents in the streets panicking, trying to find out if the child they put on the bus in the morning had any prospect of going back on the bus and going back home that afternoon. for 20 of those parents, the answer is no and i believe as i'm sure you do, we have an obligation to respond intelligently to that crisis. and i know many of you feel the same way. i have had the occasion to talk
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to a number of you and i wanted to start by thanking all of you, including mayor bloomberg, who is not here today, although i spoke to him on the phone. thank you for your input and incite. again, not all agree on what should be done. but you have probably more than any group of elected officials thought about this issue more intently and longer. you have done a great deal of work on this. all of you who deal with the issue every day. i'm not going to ask for a show of hands, but if i did, a lot of people would put their hands up in this room. how many of you mayors attended the funeral of a police officer or an innocent child in a drive-by shooting or shop owner in your city? many of you, many of you have had to attend and many of you, many, many funerals. some of your communities experienced mass shootings, not just in schools, but movie
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theaters and temples and not unique to big cities. it was -- i happened to be literally, probably turned out to be a quarter of a mile back in 2006 at an outing when i heard gunshots in the woods that we didn't know where we thought there were hunters. i got back to the clubhouse in this outing and saw helicopters. it was a shooting that had just taken place in a small amish school just outside of lancaster, pennsylvania. so it's not just big cities or well-to-do suburbs. it can happen anywhere. but i also know that it's not just about mass shootings.
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it is thought just big cities or well-to-do suburbs, it is -- it can happen anywhere. i also know it is not just about match shootings. as my friend michael knows, and as my mayor knows, the murder rates in both the our towns are well beyond, well beyond what is remotely tolerable for a civilized circumstance. it is not just about mass shootings, but gun violence of all kinds. over the past several years, 25 people died of gun-related homicides in this country every single day. every day. which is the equivalent of the third most deadly mass shooting in history happening every 24 hours in this country. as much as we intend on making schools the focus, making them more secure. as mayor emanuel of chicago said, the truth is most schools are safe. it is going to and from school when young people are in the
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greatest danger. we do not see that on the news very much anymore. we hear about mass shootings, but not every day gun violence as ravaging our cities. i remember my friend. i always looked up to him at and consider him a friend, then your patrick predicted a patrick moynihan. -- daniel patrick moynihan. when we were trying to get through the bite and crime bills -- biden crime bill, we were all on the floor debating this issue, and patrick told the story of a valentine's day massacre in 1929, and how shocked the world when seven gangsters were gunned down in cold blood. it made the front page of every
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major paper in the nation and many around the world. but then he said, in 1992 with when a woman saved her baby from execution by hiding that baby under the bed, but she was shot and killed, along with her husband and teenage son, that story, and he took out "the new york times" took up the second section. it was not front-page news. it was barely news at all. i will never forget what he said. he said i call that defining deviancy down. how it was not even news. if that had happened in 1929, it would have been astonishing. well, folks, we can no longer
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continue to define deviancy down. we cannot wait any longer to take action. the time has come. as you know, this week i delivered a set of recommendations to president obama on how we can better protect americans from gun violence. i have been getting credit and blame for that, as if these were original ideas of mind. i want to make it clear, what the only power influence of vice-president has is reflected power. none of it matters, no matter what someone tries to give you credit for. if it were not for the leadership of the present united states, the president of the united states. i am his agent, but this is the president of the united states. he asked me to go back because of my years of experience in judiciary committee in dealing
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with these issues, he asked me to go back and do as quick of a survey as i could, as the row as i could in a short time frame and present him with a set of recommendations. i have the incredible help of some really first-rate cabinet manners -- members, starting with the attorney-general, secretary of education and homeland security, secretary of health and human services. and we met with a range of 229 groups. representing a wide range prospectus. from members of the law enforcement community, including many from your cities and states, to gun safety advocates, victims of the shootings, both down in virginia, as well as in colorado. sportsmen's organizations, hunters, gun owners, the nra. representatives of the video
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game and movie industries, educators, retailers, and public health officials. and as i said, i spoke to many of you in this room as well, along with the governors and the county executives. no group was more consequential and instrumental in shaping of the document we put together that all of you in this room. those conversations, after literally hundreds of hours of work and research done by experts at the justice department and department of homeland security and elsewhere, after hearing just about every idea that had been written up only to gather dust on the shelf of some agency in government, a set of principles emerge that there was not universal agreement on, but overwhelming consensus on. they were the foundation of the recommendations. if you will permit me another
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10-12 minutes, i want to lay out to you what they are from the perspective of the president the first foundational principles is there is a second amendment. -- from the perspective of the president and me. it comes with the right of law- abiding responsible citizens who own guns. the second foundational principles, certain people in society should not and can be disqualified from being able to own a gun because they are unstable or they are dangerous. they are not the citizens but the vast majority of gun owners comprise. 3, we should make common sense judgments about keeping
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dangerous weapons off of our streets. clearly within the purview of the government, at the same time recognizing, honoring, and being compliant with the second amendment. four, this is not just about guns. it is about our culture. whether it is with video games, movies, or behavior. it is about the ability to access mental health services and the safety of our schools. it is a very complex problem, and it requires a complex solution. and based on these principles, and a vast array of groups and experts, we put together a comprehensive plan based on a common-sense approach where i believe, from heading this group, there really is overwhelming consensus.
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there are disagreements in degree, but the consensus on the principles i have laid out. we asked a number of questions. by the way, we recognize how different oliver states and cities are. how different the gun culture is, held the gun culture in rural america than in urban america. how different the gun culture is in states that are overwhelming -- my home state of delaware. most of you probably do not realize, we of the highest per capita cohn -- gun ownership because of the accounting, the -- because of a duck hunting, amazing tributaries that go from the delaware bay, chesapeake bay, and the various rivers that flow into the bay. it is a paradise for hunters. it is a big business, as well as institutional. it is culture.
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i remember all woman from delaware, the reason i got elected to the senate. she said now joey, i want to show you something my dad gave me. this was a woman who was 78 years old. she walked out in the backyard and said you know, it is the season now, right now. she said it is goose season. do not get mad. she walks into her den, takes a shot gun all over the fireplace. i walked out and she says my daddy told me how to steady aim, and i want a lot. if you did that in the upper east side of manhattan, you have a problem. [laughter] but it is really important, because some of you who share very strong feelings about gun
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control. i think it is important to understand the ethic were a lot of us come from. but it is not this culture, the recognition of the differences in the cultural behavior and attitude. from arizona to new jersey. although south jersey, it is a big deal. my generic point is recognizing those differences does not in any way they get the rational prospect of being able to come up with common sense approaches or how to do with the myriad of problems that relate to gun ownership. who has that done? -- who has that gone? we asked a number of questions. the purse question we ask is who should be prohibited -- the first question is who should be prohibited from owning a gun? current law has evolved over time, and we have considered the question.
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my senior year in 1968 graduating was an incredible year. the only political career i ever had, bobby kennedy was her -- assassinated two days before i walked across the stage for graduation. dr. king, the one who got week engaged in politics, was assassinated earlier that year. even assassination attempt at a george wallace. it is no wonder things held together quite frankly. well, the congress passed what was then called the gun control act. among other things it said that felons, fugitives, drug users, those who have been adjudicated and it is not a politically correct phrase, but it is in the law, those that are mentally affected could not own a gun. 1994 as a world change in
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country changed, along with the thing i am proud is for having written and passed about. we added a new category of people who were prohibited from purchasing a gun. based on facts, not on fiction. that is those who had a restraining order issued against them in a domestic violence incident. added. then, two years later we expanded the list again to include anyone convicted of a misdemeanor violent crime, because there was some history that they were the most likely people to do something. time and experience has demonstrated we continue to take a close look at the risk to see if it fits the needs of society at the moment. it is part of our recommendation to the president to suggest the president directing attorney general to
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study that question. should any other people be added to the prohibited category? certain convicted stalkers can still purchase a gun. people with outstanding warrants, as long as you do not crossed the line into delaware, they can go buy a gun. people have been convicted of misdemeanors for abusing their children have now been added to the list. as all of you know, you deal with it every day. elderly parents. should they be prohibited? i am not making a judgment, but i am convinced we have to look at whether or not the prohibited category should be expanded. the most delicate area is the mental health area. study. this is where you find the pro- done guys to prohibit more and-- anti-gun guys to say it is privacy.
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these are the categories the present have the attorney general looked at. there is a second issue involved, and all of you know it. we have a thing called nix. it is a place in washington, d.c. it runs the background checks on people before they can buy guns if they are in the prohibited class. it is a little bit like if you ever have bought a gun, i purchased two shotguns, a 28 in 12 did shotgun. -- 20 gauge and 12 gauge shotgun. just like when you get a credit card, if the bank does not have on record exactly what you have in that account or not have in the account, then you have a problem. it is only as good as the information available.
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right now the information being put into that system is woefully incomplete. states are supposed to make mental health records available for people who cannot have the guns. today there are 17 states that have made fewer than 10 mental health records available on the background check system. 10. there are tens of thousands of felons the estimate is, who are convicted in your cities and states. that information is never transmitted to the system. so we recommend to the president that he redirect, because no one knows for sure whether or not it is an illogical judgment they are making or an economic issue. so we asked the president to redirect $20 million to the
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states to help them update the records and make them available. he has decided the justice department should do just that. money only goes so far. a lot has to do with leadership. again, i apologize for being parochial. i will always be a senate tie and a delaware guy, but i am very proud of our home state. delaware has moved from one of the worst-performing states to one of the best performing states as a consequence, at least as rated by the mayor's against gun violence. it is about leadership. it is about making the decision to make this available. i know you folks have a lot of influence in your states. that is not quite true. [laughter] i have a bad habit of being straightforward.
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the truth is you did not have nearly as much influence and she should have in your state. all kidding aside, i would ask you to continue to push the legislatures, governors to make the record available. i am not suggesting there is any nefarious reason why it is not being done, but it is not done. i would also ask you to think about whether or not we should consider making the record sharing it mandatory. as a matter of law. or do you think the president incentivizing states information is enough. on that. one of the things we have learned is the federal government has not been doing a very good job in the past 10 years either about sharing information available. so, the president issued a directive order like everyone got all of an arms about.
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one of the executive orders was he directed every agency to make sure we live up to our end of the bargain to share relative information within the lawful possession of the government to that system if it contained people who should be disqualified as a matter of law. one to figure out the pieces, there is still another broader point. that is systems identify people who should not, not only cannot but should not possess guns only works if it actually prohibits those people from purchasing guns. that is why we need, and i would recommend to the president, universal background checks. [applause] study showed up to 40 percent of the people -- because of the
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lack of the ability of federal agencies to be able to keep records, we cannot say with absolute certainty what i am about to say is correct. but the consensus is about 40% of the people who buy guns today do so outside the background check system. right now someone purchased a gun from a licensed dealer, he is required to undergo a background system which takes a matter of minutes. he divide that exact same gun from a private seller with no background check at all. that is change. think about it. imagine you get to the airport and there are two lines for security. one of them you have to go through the metal detector, take off your shoes.
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the other one you could go straight through to the plane. where are you going to go? especially if you are carrying something you're not supposed to? which line the you think the terrorist picks? the same thing about gun sales. why would a criminal by a gun at a store where he is required to do a background check, or at a gun show from a licensed dealer where he is required to go to the background checks when he can buy a gun from the guy the next booth over were has a sign that says no background check required? i will not go into detail for why that is the case because it is the definition of what constitutes a best-seller. so why would we not do everything in our power to stop that? whose rights are being infringed on? the lawful citizen, the guy who
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has nothing to hide or woman that has nothing to hide goes through the system. virtually no complaints. even with an incomplete system, there are almost 2 million convicted felons, adjudicated, mentally incompetent and the rest of the categories i have just mentioned denied the ability to legally buy a gun. so it makes no sense to me, especially since when i wrote the original assault weapons ban there was a 12-day waiting time and a six-day waiting time, and then the nra said something that i agree with. they said we will not object if you can do this quickly. so we invested a lot of time, money and effort into setting up the system.
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by the way, i want to sell you might 12-gauge shotgun which has not been used much lately. i want to show you -- seljuk the shotgun in my home. it is not a big deal to take another 20 minutes to go to sporting goods and they will run the check for us. it is the inconvenience. it is not an inconvenience relative to the potential whole it they plug in the system. we can make exceptions if i want to leave my guns to my son who knows how to use them -- a better shot than i am because he is a major in the army. my other son hunter is better, too. we may be able to write exceptions into handing down guns to family members. but there is no reason why we cannot significantly broaden this. to try to pick up the pool of roughly 40% of the people who buy a gun without any background check. the third question we ask is what kinds of guns should be kept off of our streets? some purists say wait a minute, you could take any that you want off the street. not true in my view and the
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second amendment. others will say you have no right to take any cut off the street. because as jefferson said, the tree of liberty is water with the blood of patriots. you hear it all the time. guess what? no one doubts you were able to tell someone you cannot go by an m1 tank. you cannot have a flame thrower. so it has been established, there is the ability to have legitimate limitations on the type of weapons that can be purchased. towards the end we looked at two issues, a definition of assault weapon, anti-capacity magazines. the president believes there should be, new and stronger assault weapons ban. i know the industry will do whatever it can to get around it and they will figure out a way. we can define the stock, scope and a lot of things, but they can get around it. i also know we have to try or
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believe we have to try. what i also know is assault rifles are not the only kind of gun that can accommodate high- capacity magazines. some of you are big game hunters. i am being literal. most of the weapons used, rifles can take clips that can accommodate 30, 40, 50. you do not, but they can accommodate it. we recognize the weapon of choice in your town also is not a rifle. the weapon of choice in the vast majority of people who were killed with a handgun.
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you could put a lot of rounds in the glock and the other hand and weapons. we're calling for the prohibition of high-capacity magazines all together. we can argue whether or not we are right at 10, 12, 7, 9, or 15. we know it makes no sense. like we have learned since columbine, newtown, police reached the seen it in incredible jobs. local officials have done incredible jobs and reducing the response times to crises. but high-capacity magazines leave victims with no chance, and all too often we police outgunned as well. in aurora he had a 100 clipped magazine. had his weapon not jammed, god
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knows how many more people would have been killed. i met with gabby giffords has been the other day, and he pointed out to me when she was shot, you know this better than i do, when she was shot, but for the death that the assailant had to put in a clip and fumbled and a woman jumped out and grab him, prevented him from putting a new clip in. the new congressman who was injured and shot probably would not have been around to tell the story. so in newtown, some of those children were riddled with 11 bullet holes. high-capacity magazines are not worth the risk. [applause]
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high-capacity magazines do not have a practical sporting purpose or hunting purposes. as 100 told me, if you have 12 rounds, it means you have already missed the deer 11 times. you should pack the sucker in a go home. -- as a hunter told me. think about it, you will hear, for sporting at gun ranges. i do not know why we cannot say those weapons should not be kept at the range if that is what they're for. make that judgment. without any way impacting on your sporting enjoyment.
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the next question we ask is how we make our streets and schools safer? with regard to our streets, i believe and the president believes that cops make a difference. i remember when i first wrote the cops bill. i was told we tried that before. we never tried that before. [applause] i should be clapping for you all, because of past and you made it work. you may community policing work. crime and violent crime is down because of you, the way you employed those additional police officers. that is why it went down. that is why it happened. we still think, for to relate in these economic difficult times for you all, we want to provide state and local governments with the resources they need to keep cops on the street, even during the hard economic times. [applause]
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by the way, michael said and joe will make sure these programs go directly to the cities. i went like that. i tried that with the recovery act, but i tried it with cops and it worked. cops it worked. here is the deal, if you do not think you should find yourself in a position for having to cut funding for law enforcement in order to pay for services, we think you would agree with us that we are want to come back at it again and push again for another $4 billion in grants for cops. [applause] it is important. thank you. i do not want anyone confusing that with the argument that
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every school in america should have armed guards and armed teachers and armed principles and the like. in the original cops' bill as we wrote it there was a provision for school resource officers. i admit to you when i wrote it the first time, i was not thinking of mass shootings, but what i was thinking about was the same principle of community policing. the reason why community policing works is you get your local law-enforcement officers acquainted with and it culminated in the neighborhood where they build trust. so mrs. jones on the corner who was watching the drug deal go down every night and seeing shootings and having her window blown out a couple of times, she is going to pick up the phone -- she is not going to pick up the phone and call city hall. she is afraid. if she has a relationship with the local cop, she will say charlie did not say anything but let me tell you what is happening on my corner.
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the same thing happened with school resource officers. what happens is they stand in his school armed or unarmed in uniform and the kids get to know him and they think it is cool talking to them, and it is like talking to your coach. what we found out, kids say things like john, when i opened my locker of this morning, three lockers down, 47, there was a handle of a gun sticking out. john, do not say anything, but there is a drug deal going to go down in the back of the gym today. john, there is born to be a rumble. -- going to be a rumble. here is what we're want to propose. we believe school resource officers play an important role. but that you should have significantly more flexibility in how to use them.
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that is why we are proposing a new school safety program that funds officers, but also gives your communities the flexibility to apply for other support. so school resources officer will cost you a certain amount per year with the money the federal government is putting up. you can see we would rather have a school psychologist, or we want a school resource officer who was unarmed. what we do not want, we do not want rent a cops, those who are not trained like police officers. we are not insisting schools use police officers. if they conclude they need a school psychologist, you can apply for the funding that would otherwise, for that purpose. we will also make sure every school has a reliable emergency response plan. i know i am preaching to the choir when i say you have not been the idea how many school
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districts all across the country have picked up the phone and call my office and said can you tell us what the best plan is it something like this happens? one of the few things the federal government can do well is figure out what best practices are. by going around the country taking the information from you, deciding what best practices are, and then going out to say look, congress has funded the creation of the plans. school districts who want to take advantage of them, here they are. we are asking the congress to fund the, to fund the safety implementation programs. the next question we asked was how can we improve access to mental health services so people get the help they need before it is too late.
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we look at the circumstances when people age out of medicaid. you got these kids getting mental health services. all of a sudden they age out of there is nothing there. nothing they can do. the social worker or social worker like my daughter where she worked for the state and now she works for a non-profit. all of a sudden, what are we going to do? kids still need help. he at the age out. -- he has aged out. we're looking for the warning signs to refer them on. less than half the children with diagnosable mental health problems ever receive treatment. we need to change that. i am proud to say we are already positioned better than we ever had in history of the country to make great progress because of the affordable care act. [applause]
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and because of the leadership of republican senator the medici and ted kennedy on mental health parity. we have to get this nation to the point, and that is where we will speak to this in a second, where in fact a mental health problem receives the same credibility and coverage with a doctor or psychiatrist as when someone breaks their arm. by the way, parenthetically as my son who is an iraq veteran, we have a lot of women and men coming home with an visible injuries. -- in visible injuries. over 19,000 will require help the rest of their lives. i spent all last night at walter reed meeting with the number of entities that are on floor now are down. spending all night with the kids that are double amputees.
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there is another category of people. we do not know the number, but we know it is significant. traumatic brain injury. the invisible disease. the invisible illness. with post-traumatic stress. a man would be mad at me if i gave an example of a case, but there is a lot of veterans coming home having trouble. the suicide rate is astounding. almost one a day. almost one a day, because there is not sufficient mental health capacity in the system. we're doing everything to go out and hire 78,000 of folks, but the point is we have to go out and deal with this. the question we asked was, how? how to do that? that will take more time. we have concrete answers we will
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make available to you. what we think on how to begin the process. the next question we asked folks was have you prevent gun trafficking? the bane of the existence of the seven biggest cities in america. -- how do you prevent gun trafficking? it started with creating a federal trafficking statute for guns. we have one for drugs. but there is no federal traffic for guns. [applause] a substantial percentage of the gun crimes committed in your town are committed with weapons purchased outside your state or city. in illinois, 47 percent of the guns recovered at the crime scenes were purchased outside of the state. in new york, 68%. the only way to stop this is a federal trafficking statute. we recommend to the president that he call on congress to pass a statute, and he agreed. some of those guns are bought by
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people who passed the required background checks to buy weapons for others. maybe they give them to a man- to-man the transports them from florida to new york or one state to another, but there is not an explicit law against purchasing. straw purchasers and others are often out of the prosecuted patchwork and paperwork. the only way you pick them up is to make a paperwork violation. you know as well as i do how many guns are unaccounted for. we need strong federal laws to help us attack this. finally, and i know i've taken a long time, but this is something so many of you spent a lot of time talking to me about and i want to give it straight to you. we asked what can we do better about understanding gun violence? some of you know when the crime bill i authored in 1994 expired, including the assault weapons
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ban in 2004, one of the things we were able to do back then in 1994 was right legislation that allowed us to gather a considerable amount of information. the cdc was able to conduct research on gun violence. so we can figure out some basic things about the causes and uses. not only did the congress not renew the assault weapons ban, it also put significant impediments on federal agencies who were doing basic research and explicitly prohibited -- cdc is prohibited by federal law from doing any research. there is a whole set of amendments that were added that further constrain the ability to gather data.
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we need answers to a lot of questions. we need better understanding of the causes, longer-term independent studies to determine not only the impact of guns and how people died and what types of guns and so on and so forth, we need studies, and this is where the entertainment industry does not like me at all, we need studies are what i urge the impact and young minds witnessing repetitive five acts, either on television, movies, or video games. [applause] that is not an indictment of the industry. it is the recognition we have no expensive modern studies on these things. it is worth pointing out from my conversations with these industries, they seem intent on doing what they can do to help. they have a rating system that
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the vast majority of americans do not even know. if your child watches the early morning cartoons on saturday that have excessive violence in them, these are cartoons, you can actually program your television to take out extreme violence, moderate violence, violence. you can do it now. 90 percent of the parents have any idea of that. -- do not have any idea of that. quite frankly we do not have sufficient data. it seems to me and informed society needs data. so the president signed a directive that allows the cdc to begin gathering that information again, and i think that is a very important step. let me conclude by saying once again thank you. thank you for not only all you did to contribute to this report, but thank you for allowing me the opportunity to come and be as explicit and long and hopefully not -- possibly boring in laying out to you the
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elements of what we believe we have to look at. and let me acknowledge the truth, that too many in this country have been silent too long. we cannot -- [applause] we cannot be silent any longer. those 20 beautiful children who lost their lives are no longer able to speak for themselves. we have to speak for them. 900 people who lost their lives in the city streets of your cities to gun violence since newtown are not able to speak for themselves. we have to speak for them. those more than 9000 lives lost to gun violence in our cities each year are no longer able to speak for themselves.
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someone has to speak for them. some say the most powerful voice in this debate belongs to the gun lobby's and those that demand a stop to these common sense approaches to save lives. i think they're wrong. this time will not be like the times that come before. newtown have shocked the nation. the carnage on our streets is no longer able to be ignored. we are going to take this fight to the halls of congress. we are going to take it beyond that. we are going to take it to the american people. we will go around the country making our case, and we will let the voices, the voice of the american people be heard. we will be criticized, because people say we're spending that much energy, we are not spending enough energy on immigration, not enough energy on the fiscal
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problem -- look, folks, presidents do not get to choose what they deal, they deal with what is before them and then what it would like to. all of these things in our relate. i once asked the former mayor daley of chicago in the early 1990's. i said if there is anything i can do for you, what would you do? he said get rid of the drug problem. it would transform the economy of my city overnight. gun violence falls into a similar category. if we speak for those we lost, if we speak for our children and families, if we have the courage to new -- to do what we know is the right thing to do, then we will have the most powerful voice, and we, citizens will change the nation. i have been in this fight for a long time. i have no illusions about the fight that is in front of us.
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i have no illusions about distortion that will come from all sides, but i know full well the political obstacles that will be thrown up against this are not impenetrable. i have no illusions about how hard it will be, but i know this, we have no choice. we will not be able to look our kids and grandkids in i if we do not use every energy, every fiber in our being to try to keep them safer. i will not be worthy of the generation that will grow up now without those 20 kids and the thousands of people already lost. we will not be able to stop every act of senses -- senseless pilots, but that is no excuse to do nothing. that is not an excuse to do nothing. as the president said, if we can save even one life, it is worth it. i believe together we can save a whole lot more lives than that. and i think we can begin again. not because of guns of loans, but i think we can begin an endeavor that stops the coursing of american culture and society.
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i think we can begin to turn this around. it is not all because of guns. there is a lot of other things. but maybe what happened in newtown is a call to action about more than just gun violence, about civility in our society. i thank you all. you are on the front lines, and you were on the front line -- and god bless you all and all those that have been evicted as a consequence of this senseless violence. thank you for your time. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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[no audio]>> we will have more from the us conference of mayors when attorney general eric holder will speak. he will address gun violence. but first, "washington journal" is next. later, a panel of issues related to the us-mexican border. tonight, presidential and natural speeches. the mayors of arizona and south carolina. then,